Five Labor Strikes That Made U.S. HistoryNat Berman 4 years ago For nearly seven months in 1886 train gears were grinding to a halt when over 200,000 Railroad Workers simply declared putting down their tools and walking out online according to The Library of Congress. The Labor Knights faced off with Jay Gould, a railroad tycoon. Talks with Gould failed and in many areas the strikers turned violent. Governors of Kansas Missouri Arkansas and Texas demanded that the trains continue to run in their states but the internal struggle within the Knights of Labor caused the union to crumble and therefore the Knights gained nothing but trouble in their protests for better wages and working conditions. Since then there has been great emphasis on union solidarity, as a divided union can not win. 2.
The Great New York City Garbage Strike
Truly formidable piles of stinking garbage grazed the streets of the Big Apple until the Rockefeller threatened to bring in the National Guard to cleanse the mess. Governor Rockefeller used this opportunity to pull rank on Mayor Lindsay who thought the extravagant $400 a year that he offered was. According to Untapped Cities.com, Nelson Rockefeller took over city sanitation and negotiated with the workers for $425 with attrition which finally appeased the strikers. 3.
The Great Anthracite Coal Strike
It didn’t work and industrialist J.P. Morgan stepped in as he feared his company would be harmed by the crisis. P.J. Morgan, a professional financier, knew how to negotiate a deal and talk money. While the United Mine Workers of America had originally requested a 20% wage hike, they settled for just 10%. This strike raised public awareness about the relationships between employees and employers, and the role of government and industry in maintaining the country. 4.
The U.S. Postal Workers Strike
The blog goes on to say that many postal workers have been paid so poorly that they are eligible for welfare benefits. The National Association of Letter Carriers voted to go out on their wildcat strike at midnight on 18 March of that year. By the time President Nixon went on TV to decry the picket lines for the New York strike had already been going up all over the US. This resulted in a swift resolution and the strike only lasted a week. The Postal Workers received a massive pay increase and brought national attention to the value of postal carriers, given the enormous spike in postal mail since World War II
5. Textile Workers Strike
Amid all these injustices, it was difficult for The United Textile Workers, an American Federation of Labor affiliate, to organize these workers as many were refugees who did not speak English and many who were afraid of losing their little income. Fifty per cent of these workers were women, and they needed their income to support their families. What they wanted in their grievances of 1926 was the pay cut reversed time and a half for overtime as well as for safety and healthier working conditions. Several businesses only mediated after the 22-day strike and then failed to keep their agreements. Many just fired their employees and decided without prejudice to bring them back. Many of those who were rehired were at a lower wage brought back to the same miserable working conditions. Membership after the strike went from 1200 to just 100 members according to The Global Nonviolent Action Database. It is clear that this failed strike had a huge effect on the enthusiasm of the union and soon afterwards the membership in The United Textile Workers lost members and dissolved. Facebook